I promise I won't ask for anything else today

After a mini hot dog fest Ellie heads for the scramble nets and is never seen again, and Harry goes off to play with the toy trucks in the nearby sand area. Steven joins Harry for a while but doesn’t really like the sand – didn’t taste good – so he goes off with Adrian to play in another part of the playground. They return a few minutes later so that Steven can proudly show off his new 3rd tooth, which he has just bitten Adrian with.

We spend the best part of an hour in the play area before deciding to move on and do some grown-up stuff. We round up Steven and Harry but Ellie is nowhere to be seen. We can hear her though which is a good sign. She’s right at the top of the scramble nets and can’t find the way down. The nets are totally enclosed so there’s no danger of anyone falling but the exit criteria is a bit confusing: all sorts of tunnels are marked as exits but just lead to more nets. Eventually Big Steve had to climb right to the top and help her find the way out. Ellie eventually popped out of the slide at the bottom: and immediately tried to give us the slip and go straight back in.:rolleyes008:

All children safely rounded up, we go over to the Wild Arctic attraction, which only has a few minutes wait. We take the non-moving route to the animal area as we have short people with us, which is basically sitting on benches watching the same movie that those in the simulators were watching. Once out of here we head into the dark. Why is it so dark in here all the time? Something to do with Arctic winters maybe? But anyway, no matter what time of the year I’ve been in here, it’s always dark and cold.

The polar bears were both out doing the rounds of their enclosure. One of them kept walking right passed the front of the glass where we were standing; literally pressing him/her self against the glass so we were about 2 inches away from this giant. They are truly awesome beasts and getting that close gives you a sense of just how enormous they are too.

There was a strange woman by the polar bears; she was just hanging there watching the bears. At first we thought she worked there but she wore no name tag or anything similar. She was dressed in a very traditional dress which I can’t place. It wasn’t Amish, but it was a very full black skirt with white blouse and short jacket, and some kind of hat that I can’t remember the style of. Anyway she was just there, by the polar bears, talking to them every time they went by, and talking to all the children who stopped to watch them. She appeared harmless enough, but just looked very out of place.

As we left the polar bears and headed for the walrus, Harry decided to push Nanny Lesley over. I should clarify that a bit I guess. Nanny Lesley bent down because Harry asked her for a cuddle. He then launched himself at her and sent her sprawling on the ground. Nanny Lesley lay on the floor unable to move for laughing and we all stood around unable to help for laughing. Eventually we hauled her to her feet and walked off making such comments as, “bought shame upon the family again,” and, “I told her not to have that second drink.” We are a very sarcastic family.

At the end of the Wild Arctic attraction you are turned out into a very nicely presented gift shop. Steven got a little Shamu to take home and then we waited on a bench outside while Ellie looked for something to spend some birthday money on.

A few minutes later she emerged from the store and ran up to me with a large bag and handed it to me saying, “this is for Baby Steven.” In the bag was a lovely mummy and baby furry polar bear set, which she had chosen for Steven and paid for with some of her birthday money. She’d also bought the same for her brother Harry, and she’d got herself a polar bear shoulder bag. She was also desperate for a restroom.

Shark Encounter next, which has changed slightly due to the new restaurant that has opened there. I seem to recall you saw a movie and then the screen slid up to reveal the shark tank before you walked through the tunnel. Now there’s no pre-tunnel stuff except a few shark facts and pictures and the hanging jaws, and then you go straight into the tunnel. They still have the atmospheric music as you go through the tunnel though. Much to my surprise, Harry rated the whole attraction, “not gairy at all,” which just goes to show that sharks truly are cuddly and loveable after all, at least in one little boy’s book.

After this we went back to the dolphin lagoon to check out the photos that they had taken of us feeding the dolphins earlier. And then after this it was off to the main entrance to check out the group shot that they had taken when we entered to park. All day long Ellie had been going on about getting her face drawn: she wanted a charichature done and we could only put her off for so long with, “there’s too much else that people want to do today,” so after she uttered the immortal words, “I promise I won’t ask for anything else today,” Big Steve took her to get the drawing done while we all had a rest/nappy change/restroom stop/drink. They returned about 15 minutes later with the drawing, which was actually very good. Within another 5 minutes Ellie was bugging everyone for a hair wrap. Needless to say, we all reminded her of the promise she’d made just a short time earlier.